Volume 16, Number 20
March 9, 2010

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Message from the Rector

Abdullah Atalar

The foundations of Bilkent University were laid down by Prof. İhsan Doğramacı 25 years ago. His groundbreaking work not only set Bilkent on a course leading to worldwide recognition as a center of academic excellence, but also opened the path for other private universities in Turkey. In addition to attracting prominent and promising academics from all around the globe, İhsan Doğramacı gave top priority to recruiting the best students in Turkey. Bilkent University grew by leaps and bounds during the rectorate of Prof. Ali Doğramacı. Our research output increased steadily and Bilkent has become recognized world-wide as a top-class institution of higher education. Just recently, Bilkent appeared in the World's Best Universities list compiled by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report, the first Turkish university ever to do so. Our graduates, now more that 28,000 strong, are the embodiment of Bilkent's success in higher education.

I am proud to be the new Rector of an institution that commands such national and international acclaim. But many challenges still lie ahead. We must maintain our high academic standards, and continue to expect cutting-edge research and publications from our faculty. We must focus on scholarly publications of high quality rather than high quantity. We must also strive to increase our teaching effectiveness by embracing innovative ideas and methods in education. I believe a student-centered approach that places emphasis on learning rather than teaching should guide us in this endeavor. A greater variety of active learning methods should find their way into our classrooms, laboratories, and studios. We must find ways to make our courses more attractive and interesting to our students, building up their motivation and participation. We must aim for a good balance between broad-based education and professional training. It is our responsibility to provide a well-rounded university education to our students. We would like to see more science and engineering students taking courses from social sciences, humanities and arts, and vice versa. Having departments in a multitude of diverse fields, our university is very well positioned for implementing such broad-based curricula.

As we continue on the road to academic excellence, I am looking forward to working with our three Vice Rectors, two of whom are being newly appointed. Prof. Metin Heper will be serving as our Provost (Vice Rector for Academic Affairs), and Prof. Kürşat Aydoğan is continuing as the Vice Rector for Administrative and Financial Affairs; Prof. Orhan Aytür is being appointed as the Vice Rector for Student Affairs, to be effective on May 1. The current Vice Rector Prof. Erol Arkun, has kindly agreed to stay on until April 30 to ensure a smooth transition. We are indebted to him for his long and dedicated service from the very first days of Bilkent. I would like to take this opportunity to extend to him my deep appreciation and gratitude.

We are very grateful to Prof. İhsan Doğramacı for establishing a platform such as Bilkent. I would also like to thank members of the Bilkent University community for helping bring Bilkent where it is today. I am confident that as a team, we will be able to carry Bilkent to new heights.

Abdullah Atalar

Prof. Metin Heper

Metin HeperProfessor Metin Heper was born on 1 January 1940 in İstanbul. After having completed his secondary education at Harlow College, Essex, U.K. and Ankara Koleji, he graduated from the Law School of İstanbul University (1963). Professor Heper obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Syracuse University, NY, USA in 1968 and 1971, respectively.

Professor Heper had been Lester Martin Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University of Connecticut, Simon Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, England, Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor of Non-Western and Comparative Politics at Brandeis University, Research Fellow at Harvard University, and Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at Princeton University. He is editor or co-editor of Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East,  The State, the Military, and Democracy in Turkey,  Political Parties and Democracy in Turkey, Turkey and the West: Changing Political and Cultural Identities, Politics in the Third Turkish Republic, Local Government in Turkey, The State and Public Bureaucracies: A Comparative Perspective, Strong State and Economic Interest Groups: The Post-1980 Turkish Experience, Institutions and Democratic Statecraft, Political Leaders and Democracy in Turkey, and Political Parties in Turkey, and author of The State Tradition in Turkey, Historical, Dictionary of Turkey (first, second, and third editions), İsmet İnönü: The Making of Turkish Statesman, and The State and Kurds: The Question of Assimilation.

Professor Heper has acted as Chairperson of the Department of Political Science, Director of Center of Turkish Politics and History, and Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative, and Social Sciences at Bilkent University, Ankara. He is also founding and honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences, and Board Member of the Scientific and Technological Research Institute of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

Prof. Kürşat Aydoğan

Kürşat AydoğanKürşat Aydoğan was born in 1956 in Ankara   He had his B.S. in management and M.B.A. in general management from  Middle East Technical University . He received his Ph.D. in finance at Syracuse University in 1986. Before joining Bilkent University the same year, he taught at Ball State University and Middle East Technical University. Currently he is a professor of finance and vice rector in charge of finance and administration at Bilkent. He served as the dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at Bilkent until 2004. He has also worked as a consultant at the Research Department of the Central Bank of Turkey between 1988-93. He taught at Michigan State University in spring 2000. His research interests are investments, capital markets and corporate finance.

Prof. Orhan Aytür

Orhan AytürOrhan Aytür was born in Ankara in 1965. After graduating from the Middle East Technical University in 1986 with a B.S. in electrical engineering, he went to Northwestern University in the United States for graduate study, receiving his Ph.D. in 1991. After working in industry in the United States for a year, and as a research associate at the University of New Mexico for another, he joined Bilkent University as an associate professor in 1993, becoming a professor in 2002.

His research interests in photonics focus on nonlinear optics, optical parametric oscillators, quantum optics, optoelectronics, lasers and fiber-optic sensors. Orhan Aytür has been serving as the Director of the Information Office for Prospective Students since 2003, as the Director of the Publications Unit since 2004, and as an Associate Provost since 2007.

University Matters Discussed by New President and Rector

On Monday, March 8, University President Prof. Ali Doğramacı, and Rector Prof. Abdullah Atalar held an open meeting for faculty and administrative staff at the Bilkent Concert Hall to provide information on recent changes in Bilkent's administration as well as to share ideas about future plans.

The meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Prof. İhsan Doğramacı, Founder of the University. Prof. Ali Doğramacı then took the opportunity to thank the Bilkent community for joining them in the period of transition.

"Every new rector will have his/her own preferences and what we have to do is try to support Prof. Atalar as much as we can," he said.

Rector Atalar also delivered a few words about his new position at Bilkent.

"As the new Rector of Bilkent University, I am very proud to be in this position," he said. "Great thanks to our founder, Prof. İhsan Doğramacı, for selecting me as the new rector. I also thank the President of our university, Prof. Ali Doğramacı, for his praise."

Prof. Doğramacı then announced that Prof. Metin Heper, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences, is being appointed as the Provost.

Bilkent Participates European University Association Evaluation Program

Bilkent University, a member of European University Association (EUA), has decided to go through the Institutional Evaluation Program (IEP) administered by the EUA.  The IEP aims to strength higher education systems through institutional regional and national evaluations.  It is not a process of accreditation nor does it rank the participating universities. Instead, the program is voluntary and based on a peer evaluation system.

IEP is initiated with the formal application of the university to EUA, followed by the appointment of a five-member review team. The university then prepares a self-evaluation report and sends it to the team members and distributes it internally. At Bilkent, a 10-member steering committee, in charge of preparing the report, consisted of faculty members from different departments, administrative staff and the president of the Student Council.

The Review Team assigned to Bilkent consists of a rector, two vice rectors, a coordinator and a student, each from a different country in Europe.  There will be two team visits to campus.  This first visit will take place on March 25-26, 2010.  During this time the team will review the self-evaluation report with the administration, student representatives and visiting various facilities on campus. 

This introductory site visit will be followed by a second visit in about two months.  The team will then produce a report that consists of an overview and discussion of the self-evaluation, and any problem areas that the team may want to point out.  Once completed, the EUA Evaluation Report will be published on the University webpage.

A Chance to Determine Your Future Career: Career Fair to Host 37 Firms

career fair

This year's Career Fair will take place on Thursday, March 11. This will be a great opportunity for Bilkent students to meet  representatives from different companies and learn about their recruitment policies. There will be educational seminars on campus, with the annual Career Fair taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Main Sports Hall.

This is a perfect chance for Bilkenters to get a better idea of what their future may look like by talking directly to executives and employees from a variety of big companies. If you are looking for an internship, this event is an excellent place to explore  possibilities.

Profiles for all of the companies taking part in this year's Career Fair are included in this week's insert.

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